Shares slip on seesaw in oil prices, weak China data

Tue Dec 8, 2015 3:08pm EST
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock markets worldwide slipped on Tuesday, weighed down by weak China trade figures, while oil came off its worst levels of the day after falling within reach of a seven-year nadir.

Oil prices earlier plumbed lows last seen during the financial crisis as an intensifying supply glut sparked fears the world will run out of storage for crude. U.S. crude hit $36.64 a barrel and Brent hit $39.81, their lowest levels since February 2009, before rebounding.

Brent crude LCOc1 was last down 51 cents, at $40.23 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 was last down 6 cents at $37.59 per barrel.

U.S. stocks pared losses after falling more than 1 percent in morning trading, while European shares ended down nearly 1.5 percent. Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote) fell 2.2 percent, while miner and energy producer Freeport McMoRan (FCX.N: Quote) was last down nearly 7 percent.

"The fall in oil prices suggests weak demand globally and has worried investors as they put together their outlook for the coming year," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The concerns over a crude glut hit currencies of major oil exporters, with the Canadian dollar and Norwegian crown hitting decade-plus lows against the U.S. dollar. The dollar retreated against the euro and yen, however.

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, was last down 0.17 percent, at 98.488.

"It's a perfect storm for commodity currencies," said Mazen Issa, senior currency strategist at TD Securities in New York.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid